Catholic Priest Falsely Accused of Participation in Satanic Rites
Date of incident: May 1, 2000
Category: Social Hostility / Intolerance
Attack against: Faith
Area of case: Governmental / Political
Father Giorgio Govoni, 59, pastor of Staggia di San Prospero Church in the province of Modena, Italy, was accused of being a member of a group of pedophiles who engaged in sexually violent and harmful acts with minors, including participation in satanic rites in the Massa Finalese Cemetery. He was cleared after his death by the court of second instance.The Catholic priest Fr. Giorgio Govoni, actively involved in social projects and leader of an association of voluntary services in the geographic area of the Modena Lowlands, was considered guilty of organising satanic rites, during which children were abused. He was charged with having abused thirteen children together with some of their relatives and a teacher. In particular, Father Giorgio Govoni is charged with being the leader of a group of paedophiliac satanists. They were supposed to have acted in the cemeteries between Mirandola e Finale Emilia, executing, while the rites are being celebrated, among the other things, false funerals, beheading children in Satan’s honour and throwing their heads into the water of a river. Father Govoni kept on pleading that he was not guilty, being supported and believed innocent by his parishioners, by his Bishop, by the Curia and by the whole Diocese of Modena-Nonantola.
The legal process that followed was articulated and complex. Its main stages were the following:
• The Court declared his crime discharged because “of the death of the guilty”. The public promoters had asked for a 14-year sentence for Fr. Govoni, but the priest’s death (a heart attack shortly after the public minister´s address) stopped the proceedings.
• The Council for the defence of Govoni appealed at the Court of Appeal in Bologna to clear his client’s memory.
• The hypothesis that alleged the existence of a group of “paedophilic Satanists” was demolished by the Bologna Court of Appeal. This brought the clearing of the memory of Father Govoni and his declaration of innocence.
The Bishops responsible for the Dioceses to which the Father belonged, spoke of him as “martyr”, even if he doesn’t interpret the term in a technical sense typical of beatification cases. Father Giorgio Govoni is without any doubt a victim of false charges, and the motivation of his accusers was most likely an anti-Christian one.